(Adds details and updates prices) * Asian shares mixed after two days of gains * Dollar recovers after overnight drop * Coronavirus infections cross 1.38 mln globally By Shreyansi Singh April 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained in volatile trade on Wednesday amid weakening appetite for risk as rising deaths dampened hopes for a swift containment of the novel coronavirus. Spot gold ticked up 0.2% to $1,651.51 per ounce by 0739 GMT, after climbing to its highest since March 10 on Tuesday at $1,671.40. U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,689.80. "Fundamentals are still bullish, but in the short term the market will take cues from every bit of news that pops up," said Avtar Sandu, a senior commodities manager at Phillip Futures, adding that a firmer dollar and profit-taking weighed on prices. Asian stocks were mixed after two sessions of sharp gains as investors tempered their optimism about the coronavirus while death tolls were still mounting across the globe. The virus has infected more than 1.38 million people globally and the death toll crossed 81,400, and though the numbers are still rising in many highly populated countries, tentative improvements had given hope. New York state, the U.S. epicentre of the pandemic, reported its sharpest single-day spike in fatalities and Spain's daily toll of deaths rose for the first time in five days, while new cases in mainland China nearly doubled in 24 hours due to infected overseas travellers. In a bid to support economies hammered by the outbreak, governments and central banks around the world have unleashed unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to fight the outbreak and rolled out a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package to soften the economic blow. "In the mid to long term, gold has upside due to quantitative easing and monetary stimulus efforts by global central banks," said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang Yan. Capping bullion's gains, the dollar gained 0.4% against key rivals, as investors returned to safe-havens. On Tuesday, the greenback posted its worst drop in nearly two weeks. On the technical front, spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,643-$1,668 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.15% to 985.71 tonnes on Tuesday. Palladium climbed 1.2% to $2,200.61 an ounce, while platinum gained 0.7% to $738.84. Silver rose 0.4% to $15.06 an ounce, having touched a more than three-week high in the previous session. (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh, K. Sathya Narayanan and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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